Book cover of The Barren Grounds

The Barren Grounds: The Misewa Saga, Vol. 1



Publisher & Publication Year

Tundra Books, 2021

Publisher's Book Page


David A. Robertson (Norway House Cree)

Author's Website 




This Narnia-inspired Indigenous story follows Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children living in a foster home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Taken away from their communities and cultures, they struggle to fit in at school. But everything changes when they find a portal that opens to a new—and icy—reality called Askí. There they meet Ochek, a hunter who is struggling to provide food for his community called Misewa. It’s a race against imminent starvation as Morgan and Eli team up with a sassy squirrel to help Ochek and his beloved Misewa community. But can they help before winter freezes them all?

Notable Achievements

Governor General’s Literary Award for Young People’s Literature Nominee, 2021; One of Quill & Quire’s Best Books, 2020; Recommended by booksellers on NPR’s Code Switch; One of CBC Books’ Best Middle-Grade and Young Adult Books, 2020; One of Canadian Children’s Book News’ Best Books, 2020


Publishers Weekly: "The treatment of Cree culture resonates, and the engaging characters and folklore ensure readers will look forward to the next installment."

Kirkus Reviews: "This middle-grade fantasy deftly and compellingly centers Indigenous culture."

Educator Guide

This guide, created by Métis educator April Waters for Tundra Books, includes discussion questions and follow-up activities.

Link to Guide

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